Medical school is a full-time commitment, and students are expected to meet a high level of professional standards, including attendance.

Third- and fourth-year medical students are expected to be present and actively engaged in all activities of each clerkship or rotation. However, we know there are times you might need to be absent.

How to request an excused absence

You must request an excused absence in writing using a "student request for absence" form (see below for links). The form requires approval from the clerkship or course director. Note: Directors are not obligated to grant a request for an excused absence.

In considering whether to ask for an excused absence, remember that professionalism is vitally important to your training. We try to instill in each student a sense of responsibility, including, at times, setting aside personal agendas.

When absences are known well in advance, such as attending a national meeting as a representative from the school, you should complete the absence form as soon as you know of the absence, but no later than two weeks prior to the start date.

Students who are absent because of illness or an emergency should let the clerkship office know by phone or email and complete a form upon their return.

Limit on excused absences

The Clinical Curriculum Steering Committee has adopted the following policy on maximum number of excused absences:

  • Five days for an eight-week rotation
  • Four days for a six-week or seven-week rotation
  • Three days for a four-week or five-week rotation
  • One day for a two-week rotation

If a student has more absences, the committee may judge the student has had insufficient exposure, and the course may result in no credit without remediation or repeating the course.

Unexcused absences are unacceptable, and if you have an unexcused absence, the consequences will be determined by the course or block director.

This absence policy applies to all third- and fourth-year University of Missouri courses, including off-site rotations, Rural Scholars Program rotations, and electives.

Absence Forms

For additional information, see the Student Handbook.